I have been reading through John Bunyan’s great sermon/article entitled “The Barren Fig Tree.” As you probably know, I maintain that the domestic abuser/sociopath who puts on wool to disguise himself/herself as a Christian, never repents. Never. I have had, on occasion, victims of such people get quite angry with me, insisting that “their God” is big enough to save anyone. But there are some things that even God cannot and will not do – like saving the devil. God will not and cannot save a person who refuses to repent – like Pharaoh.
Bunyan agrees. Listen to what he says as he addresses the Barren Fig Tree – ie, the fruitless “Christian” who has crowded into Christ’s church:
Barren fig tree, can it be imagined that those that paint themselves did ever repent of their pride? Or that those who pursue this world did ever repent of their covetousness? Or that those who walk with wanton eyes did ever repent of their fleshly lusts? Where, Barren Fig Tree, is the fruit of these people’s repentance? No, do they not rather declare to the world that they have repented of their profession (of Christ)? Their pride says they have repented of their humility. Their covetousness declares that they are weary of depending upon God? Where is your fruit, Barren Fig Tree?The barren fig tree, john bunyan
It is one thing for a sinner to repent, by God’s gracious working and calling, who never played the hypocrite in Christ’s church. It is quite another species of sinner who, for years, play-acts the appearance of a Christian but, like the Pharisees, is a mere whitewashed tomb full of stinking decaying bones.
This kind, this abuser, this sociopath who wears the disguise of eminent saint, never repents. Unlike Saul of Tarsus, the once-Pharisee who became the Apostle Paul, these wicked ones are “holy” only when it benefits them to wear the disguise. But behind the scenes, that mask comes off and they are who they really are – evil and wicked. Paul lived “ignorantly in unbelief” before Christ grabbed him and saved him. Paul was never a mask-wearing hypocrite.